Sunseri v Moen (IL)

888 NE2d 713 (3rd D 2008).

Facts: In 1996, Sunseri brought suit in New York against Macro, a general partnership, for breach of contract and fiduciary duties. The New York court awarded Sunseri roughly $6 million on its claims. The case was entered as "Jack A. Sunseri and Consolidated Partners, Ltd., Plaintiffs, against Macro Cellular Partners and Cellular Communications, Inc., Defendant." On November 4, 2005, Sunseri filed an affidavit in Illinois entitled "Jack A. Sunseri and Consolidated Partners, Ltd., Plaintiffs vs. Janet Moen, Individually as partner of Macro Cellular Partners, Defendant" requesting registration of the foreign judgment against Moen as a partner. The court adopted the affidavit case name and registered the judgment against Moen. The court clerk then issued a citation notice against Moen, listing her as the judgment debtor. At the request of Sunseri, the clerk then issued a third-party citation to discover assets of Moen to First Midwest Bank in January 2006.

Moen sought to vacate the enforcement of the judgment because she was not named or served in the New York judgment, and sought a stay in enforcement because the New York judgment was in appeals. After various challenges, the court ruled that Sunseri could proceed to discover partnership assets, but could not proceed against Moen's personal assets because she was not named in the original New York action. Sunseri sought leave to amend the complaint by naming Moen individually. Moen filed a motion to dismiss based upon the statute of limitations. The court granted the motion to dismiss, noting that Section 2-411(b) of Civil Procedure does not permit Sunseri to enforce a judgment against the partnership against Moen individually, and that the action was time barred. Sunseri appealed, arguing that the court erred in vacating the orders against Moen's assets, and by dismissing the amendment to the complaint.

Holding: Affirmed in part, vacated in part. The court first noted that under the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act, 735 ILCS 5/12-650 et seq., the parties cannot expand the judgment to reach someone who was not a party to the foreign action by service of process. Thus, the judgment against the partnership was only valid as to partnership property. The mere improvidence of inserting Moen's name did not bypass this rule. Further, Illinois law prevents attachment of private assets to satisfy a judgment against a partnership without first obtaining a judgment against the individual, and New York law requires the partner be joined in the original suit. By registering the foreign judgment incorrectly, Sunseri failed to register his judgment against Moen or the partnership.

Regarding the amendment to the complaint, the court noted that the registration deficiency hampered it as well. Sunseri could not amend, in Illinois, a New York judgment. And because the judgment was not properly registered against the partnership, the motion to amend the registration proceedings was properly dismissed.

The court vacated the lower court's ruling that any citation proceedings could continue against the partnership, and affirmed the dismissal of the amended complaint.

Opinion Year: 
By: ATG Underwriting Department | Posted on: Wed, 10/15/2008 - 9:12pm